CMU offers SAM graduate students ample research and learning opportunities through collaborations among participating departments.

The Dow Science Complex contains advanced research laboratories for students and faculty. In addition, special labs house instrumentation for a variety of materials-related research, including nuclear magnetic resonance, laser spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, polymer characterization and X-ray diffraction. Full-time technicians support electronics and machine shops, NMR facilities and microscopy facilities.

Student computer laboratories provide MacIntosh and PC-compatible equipment and graphics workstations. The computers offer current molecular visualization, computational software and other scientific software programs.

Meet Phil Medina

Phil Medina is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow pursuing his Ph.D. in Material Science in the Science of Advanced Materials (SAM) Program at CMU.  Phil is a tribal member of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi and founding member of the Three Fires American Indian Science and Engineering (AISES), a RSO at CMU.

His primary NSF research is the synthesis of a Si/C hybrid anode that will be used in Lithium Ion Batteries (LIB).  He applied to the Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) program and was accepted into the NSF program in 2013 after showing interest in a proposal for Lithium Ion Battery (LIB) research at the Council for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa.  The GROW program offers offers opportunities to work in developing countries through a collaboration with the United States Agency for Industrial Development (USAID) and NSF.

"My research at CSIR​ is primarily focused on the synthesis of graphene and graphene derivatives for LIB application," said Medina. 

"I proposed a method to synthesize graphene using a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technique. I was able to synthesize graphene but with very small yield. Prior research with oxidized graphene nanoribbons (OxGNRs) afforded an alternative route to a graphene-like material. Both OxGNRs and GNRs (reduced OxGNRs) were successfully attained. The electrochemical testing of this material with TiO2 as the active material is currently underway. The potential of the utilization of the GNRs as a fuel cell catalyst will soon be explored. After the data is collected and analysed, a publication will hopefully be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal."

Medina's trip to South Africa was not all business. He travelled to many of the 'must see' locations; Kruger Park, Sun City, Cape Town and many more. He even had the opportunity to travel to Mauritius Island, an island off the coast of Madagascar where he swam with dolphins, snorkelled and walked underwater on the sea floor.

"My trip to South Africa, has been great, I am truly blessed. I have to say that staying at CMU to attain my Ph.D. is the best decision of my life," said Medina.  "I would like to thank my advisor Dr. Brad Fahlman for encouraging me and also in believing in my potential to succeed."